Let’s Celebrate Our Timeless Family Traditions. They Matter!
The kitchen is often known as the heart of the home, and it has always been my favorite place during the holiday season. The hustle and bustle start shortly after Halloween as the grocery lists get started, and the famous family recipes emerge from their recipe boxes.
From Generation to Generation
These recipes are handed down from our mothers’ grandmother to her mother, to her, and now to the new generation of women starting a home and new traditions of their own. Just like the women before her nervously attempting the recipe for the first time.
Cooking becomes a catalyst for something even greater than the meal itself. It is a chance for women to come together to share stories, embrace experiences, and to impart the wisdom to others that only age will allow you to gain.
As we gear up for this holiday season, let’s remember the women who came before us – those who started our beloved customs.
“The Apron” is a powerful symbol that for many women evokes memories of the time and women who came before them. In the poem “Grandma’s Apron” Tina Trivett tells us how the use and meaning of an apron far exceed its purpose as a clothing protector:
The strings were tied, it was freshly washed, and maybe even pressed.
For Grandma, it was every day to choose one when she dressed.
The simple apron that it was, you would never think about;
The things she used it for, that made it look worn out.
She may have used it to hold some wildflowers that she’d found.
Or to hide a crying child’s face when a stranger came around.
Imagine all the little tears that were wiped with just that cloth.
Or it became a potholder to serve some chicken broth.
She probably carried kindling to stoke the kitchen fire.
To hold a load of laundry, or to wipe the clothesline wire.
When canning all her vegetables, it was used to wipe her brow.
You never know, she might have used it to shoo flies from the cow.
She might have carried eggs in from the chicken coop outside.
Whatever chore she used it for, she did them all with pride.
When Grandma went to heaven, God said she now could rest.
I’m sure the apron that she chose was her Sunday best.
Stories as Gifts to Each Other
This seemingly ordinary item can hold a very special place in our hearts. Sharing the stories of the women in our lives who wore them is an excellent way to both honor them and to keep their memory alive.
Our mother’s apron, or even a new apron, is a wonderful sentimental gift to give during the holidays. And it will surely be put to good use once all of the family recipes are shared.
Almost every family has a famous recipe that has been handed down through the generations. Whether neatly displayed in a cookbook, placed on cards in the recipe box, or collected as handwritten notes on scraps of paper mixed with magazine clippings in a shoe box, those sought-after recipes are a window to the past.
My favorite bits are always the handwritten alterations that turn an ordinary dish into a staple at the holiday table. And, as the extended family comes into town, the holidays are a perfect reason to get out those family favorites.
My Great Grandmother’s Raisin Pie recipe is a family favorite, and with special permission from my Grandmom I’d like to share it with all of you:
Granny’s Raisin Pie
1 cup raisins
2 cups water
¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1 beaten egg
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon salt
pre-prepared pastry (pan and to cover)
First, wash raisins and place in a bowl covered with the water. Let soak 1 to 3 hours.
Mix sugar, egg and flour, stirring in lemon juice and salt and mix well.
Bring raisins and their soaking liquid to a boil for 5 minutes and add to mixture.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Pour filling into a pastry lined pan. Cover with top crust, seal edges and cut slits in the top.
Place in oven and bake for 12 minutes.
Lower heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.
I remember as a child mimicking the process of measuring and mixing and how excited I was when offered the chance to stir the batter. Even still today, stirring is my favorite part!
‘Tis the Season for Holiday Traditions
These time old traditions offer a unique chance to make new memories while we cherish the old. So as the smells of gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce fill the room, and the sounds of Miracle on 34th Street play in the background, let’s take a moment to reflect on all of the special family customs we’ve maintained after all of these years. Let’s be thankful that we can share them with the newest members of the family.
How many generations in your family gather to celebrate the holiday? What unique traditions do you enjoy together? How has the holiday changed over the years? Please join in on the conversation!